Water and carbon footprints

At Gem Diamonds, we appreciate the role mining companies can play to make a meaningful impact in the areas where we operate. We also recognise that our business needs to be profitable and sustainable to secure the value we can contribute.

Our water footprint studies provide an integrated understanding of our water abstraction and water use. A water footprint can be defined as a measure of freshwater appropriation underlying a certain product, including fresh surface water, groundwater incorporated in the product or lost during the manufacturing of the product.

The total water footprint for Gem Diamonds’ operations during 2017 was 8 496 384 m3 (2016: 8 701 985 m3). The water sources included municipal supplies, groundwater, surface water and direct rainfall. 5 334 786 m3 (68%), down from 5 643 403 m3 in 2016 and the Net Water Usage related to evaporation (92%), entrainment (6%), consumption (2%) and dust suppression (0.2%). The amount of water that finds its way back into the environment through discharge and seepage accounted for 2 598 339 m3 (3 023 034 m3 reported in 2016).

In 2017, the total water footprint in relation to carats mined and tonnes of ore treated was 42.91 m3 per carat (2016: 37.8 m3 per carat) and 1.31 m3 per tonne treated ore (2016: 1.21 m3 per tonne treated ore). The increases were directly related to a 20 % decrease in the number of carats recovered during the period.

The stress water footprint of the Group, that is the stress placed on the water system by mining activity consumption, was calculated and water usage at the operations was found to be sustainable.

We carefully manage our Scope 1 emissions, that is, direct GHG emissions that occur from sources that are owned or controlled by the Group. Scope 2 emissions consist of GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity. We focus on reducing these emissions by enhancing efficiencies across our operations. We manage Scope 3 emissions, such as emissions resulting from employee and contractor transportation, that are most material to our organisation.

In 2017, the total carbon footprint for the Group was 155 106 tCO2e (2016: 184 765 tCO2e), primarily driven by electricity consumption and mobile and stationary fuel combustion. This figure includes the direct GHG emissions (Scope 1), energy indirect GHG (Scope 2) emissions, and material (Scope 3) emissions, and was calculated with boundaries clearly defined by the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.

The figure indicates a decrease of 16% from 2016. This observed decrease is the result of the Letšeng operation that had a significant reduction in mobile combustion and transport usage as well as the placement of Ghaghoo on Care and Maintenance. The combined decrease was observed in Scope 1 reduction of 72 282 tCO2e (2016) to 54 775 tCO2e (2017) and Scope 3 reduction of 23 112 tCO2e (2016) to 21 075 tCO2e (2017). Electricity consumption accounted for 69 571  tCO2e (45%) of the carbon footprint, (2016: 68 306 tCO2e).

The ratio of 369.58  tCO2e per employee in 2016 has decreased to 347.77  tCO2e per employee in 2017. This decrease is directly related to an overall decrease in the carbon footprint. The ratio of 1.1 tCO2 per carat in 2016 increased to 1.29 tCO2e per carat in 2017. This change can be attributed to a decrease of 20 % in the number of carats recovered during the year.